How a New Jersey DWI can have Serious Immigration Consequences

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DWI charges can have serious consequences for anyone’s life, but the consequences can be much greater if the person who gets charged is not a citizen of the United States. Undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens alike can benefit from a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney when facing these types of circumstances.

A person will be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey if he or she is found to be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. Individuals who are convicted of a DWI face numerous penalties, such as fines, imprisonment, license suspension, and more.

In general, there are two types of visas:  immigrant and non-immigrant. The former allow people to live here, work, pay taxes, and benefit from U.S. programs until they eventually naturalize and become citizens. The latter allow people to come to the United States for a limited purpose and time frame, such as a job. While a person’s green card is less susceptible to revocation, federal immigration law allows for non-immigrant visas to be denied or revoked much more easily. While a non-immigrant visa holder whose visa has been revoked will have the opportunity to offer evidence as to why they should be allowed to stay, Department of Homeland Security officers make the ultimate decision.

In the state of New Jersey, it is not uncommon for a municipal court judge to advise individuals who are non-citizen defendants of the potential immigration consequences associated with guilty pleas or a guilty verdict for a DWI. Under New Jersey law, a DWI charge is considered a motor vehicle offense, rather than a criminal offense. Nonetheless, such a conviction could prevent you from receiving your U.S. citizenship because it is considered to show bad moral character. This is especially true if you have multiple DWI convictions on your record. Since green card holders have to prove good moral character for at least five consecutive years before submitting their application for citizenship, it can become more difficult with a DWI on your record.

For an undocumented immigrant, a DWI conviction could lead to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) starting a deportation proceeding. Given the magnitude of the consequences this could have for you and your family’s lives, it is imperative to contact a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney immediately after you have been charged. In such cases, it may also be necessary to consult with an immigration attorney.

A DWI charge can derail a person’s life. If you have been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, you need a caring and skilled DWI lawyer and legal team on your side. We understand how serious and daunting these charges can be. You can rest assured that our team will examine the facts of your case and come up with a legal strategy accordingly. To discuss your case in more detail, call us at 877-450.8301 or contact us via our online form.

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